Poker and Gambling: Sport or Entertainment?


Many consider that the eternal rivalry between the Soviet chess players Karpov-Kasparov mediatized and, therefore, normalized the presence of non-physical sports. Since then, chess became a mental sport par excellence. But is it the only one? Certainly not. The international association of mental sports recognizes many other board games such as Go, Chinese chess, mahjong, checkers, and card games like bridge and poker.

However, although this recognition came in 2010, poker still carries the stigma surrounding most mind sports, especially those in which gambling is involved to a greater or lesser extent. This is a historical claim of any professional poker player who has felt neglected on numerous occasions as an athlete.


The usual argument against the perception of poker as a mental sport is based on the opinion that it is a game that mainly involves luck and does not require skill and strategy. Compared to the rest of the recognized mental sports. However, this is nothing more than the conception of those who perceive poker as mere entertainment, especially online poker. Poker is not a children’s game. In poker, especially in the Texas Hold ’em modality from the United States, every action taken by chance recalculates the turns of the game. It offers you relevant information with which to set up your own strategy. Thus, mathematical knowledge is configured as a fundamental mental skill as a tactical tool.

Let’s see today if poker is a sport or just gambling entertainment. If you want to answer it yourself, then do it with the best 100% deposit bonus casino in Canada, which you can find on our carefully selected online casino sites, which offer not only the best welcome bonus match percent of 2021 but also one of the safest and most fun experiences to win money. But before that, let’s talk about poker!

More Than Just Gambling

2009 was an important year for both professionals and amateurs in the world of poker. The International Mind Sports Association (IMSA) finally recognized poker as a mental game of skill, on the same level as chess, bridge, or go. The president of the International Poker Federation, Anthony Holdem, celebrated the IMSA’s decision that year at its congress in Dubai. He considered it an important achievement for poker to be recognized as a mental sport.

Since then, poker became part of the IMSA World Mind Sports Games held in conjunction with the London Olympics in 2012, being the centerpiece around online sports betting. The news was greeted with great optimism in the world of gambling, which had run up against government controls and a multitude of obstacles to date. The recognition was a milestone. Shortly afterward, the International Poker Federation organized the first world poker tournament, both in teams and individually.

It’s Not All Just Luck

Poker was not considered just another gambling game, surrounded by other casino games of chance and other recreational venues. On the contrary, those who know poker well know the strategic component it requires.You compete against other players, not against the bank. This requires an excellent mental concentration and strategy exercise, including psychology, discipline, audacity, and even mathematical knowledge. Knowing how to keep calm, rigor, and control emotions all the time is something that is achieved with practice. The situation becomes more complicated when playing in a team. It is necessary to know your teammates very well, practice frequently, or even synchronize.


Strategy Game

It is not by chance that poker has been compared to chess. Both disciplines require strategic decision-making in real-time and having a foresight of the opponent’s game. At the same time, it is essential not to reveal your position and distract the opponent. This cannot be achieved overnight, and those who dedicate themselves to it professionally know this. These players consider it a job and are fully committed to it, putting in countless hours of practice.

With more and more professional players taking part in world tournaments, for many, it is more than just a hobby. But to make a living from it, or to earn significant profits, players must prepare thoroughly. They study books on poker basics and strategy, reading their opponents to know how to act, and practicing for hours on end until they develop the best game. That said, the growing online casino popularity has allowed many to educate themselves in a live dealer casino, gain experience, and train to develop the skills necessary to take on other expert players and play for real money. And, as in everything, practice makes perfect.

A Promising Future

Everything points to the fact that the sun will continue to shine on the world of poker, which continues to gain more and more recognition and importance in high-standard world games and tournaments. This recognition has allowed the regulation of many normative and regulatory aspects of the events that take place, the training of the personnel that takes part in them, and the creation of employment.

But it is not all about officially recognizing the skills needed in the game of poker. It is also about creating a poker culture that is recognized as a mental sport for the masses. Poker carries the stigma of having a bad reputation, of being a dangerous and addictive game, a vice in which many have lost everything they have. Movies and science fiction have emphasized this aspect, often depicting it for gangsters, always accompanied by alcohol, drugs, and violence.

In 2021, that stigma is fading. Little by little, the public is learning to appreciate the mental exercise, strategy, and complexity that players employ when playing poker, whether betting or not. The excellent reputation of the game is on the rise and will continue to grow. With the rise of online sports and gambling, and regulated tournaments held worldwide, poker can once and for all abandon its prejudices.

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